All guests that stay at Lalibela pay a conservation levy per night stayed and all of these funds are ringfenced and paid over to the Lalibela Foundation. The Lalibela Foundation supports a wide variety of projects ranging from conservation to community upliftment. We are extremely grateful to our guests for these contributions as we are able to make a meaningful difference to the lives of those that are most in need as well as make a significant contribution to conservation. One of the community projects that we have is to support our own football (soccer) team, the LALIBELA LIONS! Yes, we don’t only have 4-legged lions on Lalibela 😊. Thanks to the generous support of our guests, we have been able to assist the Lalibela Lions and now celebrate their success.
The Lalibela Lions started out as a regional team and gained promotion to the 2nd Division. They won the 2nd Division and were then promoted to the 1st Division. They have just won the 1st Division and have been promoted to the Premier Division. In the words of our very proud General Manager, Mr Rob Gradwell, they are now: “One division from being on TV!”. While winning is not everything, this is a wonderful story of hard work and teamwork by a group of young people from an impoverished community who are making their mark and learning all the valuable life lessons that come from hard work. The Lalibela Foundation has been able to assist the Lalibela Lions with football kit, pitch maintenance, travel, fuel and food.
As with any successful team, there is a group of support staff who volunteer their time. Our workshop manager, Ozzie, has been the team manager for 5 years – Ozzie is the conductor who keeps this orchestra in tune! He is ably supported by Simpiwe, the coach and George, the captain. Whilst the Lalibela Lions rely on teamwork, they do have a couple of stars – from Newman who is the top goal scorer in the league to Sthuthuthu, the goalkeeper who has the best record in the league.
What makes us particularly proud is the fact that all members of the team come from the Seven Fountains community. The Lalibela Lions have resisted the temptation of seeking talent from further afield as they have progressed through the league tables and have stuck to local talent from our community combined with hard work and practice.
Lalibela Game Reserve is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, close to Port Elizabeth and Addo, which means it is not only malaria free, but spans 5 ecosystems, resulting in a breath-taking diversity of flora and fauna.